EXCLUSIVE: It’s been over two months since Wonder Woman opened to a staggering $103.2M and went on to gross close to $800M worldwide for Warner Bros. (with Japan yet to bow). The movie, directed by Patty Jenkins, not only re-invigorated DC movies and the studio itself, but became a symbol of strength for women across the country. Now Jenkins is returning to the director’s chair to helm the second film in the franchise that she was so instrumental in starting.
Last month at Comic-Con, the studio confirmed both a sequel with Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot and a release date of Dec. 13, 2019. However, curiously, there was no deal with Jenkins. Why the delay? Because Jenkins — who was lauded repeatedly during the Women in Film Crystal Awards this year by several of its nominees — expects to be paid substantially more and the same as a male director would receive after such a box office coup. That desire was seconds away from becoming a reality on Thursday evening as a deal was being finalized which would elevate her as the highest-paid female director in town.
And why not? Wonder Woman shattered several glass ceilings at the box office, including the best opening ever for a title by a female director and the best global haul for a live-action film directed by a woman as well as the third-highest grossing film in Warner Bros.’ history (behind only Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight series).
Although no payday was revealed, we understand that her payday and deal is in line with any other director who has performed at this level. A studio source said they were “confident the deal will be reached soon.”
Typically, according to sources, a frosh director on a comic book movie gets $1.5M to $3M, while a director in the realm of Zack Snyder (who is helming DC’s Justice League) received $10M against 10% cash break even for his second DC film Man of Steel. (That’s usually paid out as 20% during pre-production, 60% during production, 10% during post and 10% following).
Wonder Woman continues to show that there’s a big demand and big business for female-led tentpoles after Star Wars Force Awakes, Rogue One, and The Hunger Games trilogy.
Jenkins burst on the scene with the critically acclaimed indie film Monster in 2003 — she wrote and directed while Charlize Theron won Best Actress — then directed a number of TV episodes for such shows as Entourage and The Killing before she was hired on for Wonder Woman. She handled the female super-hero film with a deft hand. Wonder Woman will go over $800M worldwide soon as it opens in Japan on Aug. 25.
Jenkins is repped by CAA, Anonymous Content, and attorney Alan Wertheimer at Jackoway Tyerman Wertheimer Austen Mandelbaum Morris & Klein.